Adhesion Molecules at the Synapse

  • Alaa El-Husseini


Communication between neurons is mediated mainly by chemical synapses, at which neurotransmitters are released by the presynaptic neuron, diffuse across the narrow cleft, and activate receptors located on postsynaptic neurons. Synapses provide the structural and functional basis for the formation and maintenance of the complex neural networks that exist in the brain. This process is governed by the number, type, and location of synapses control synapse maturation, specificity and function. Thus, disruption of the adhesive properties of these molecules not only compromises synaptic transmission, but also many aspects of brain function that control memory formation and behavior. Here, I will describe the various stages of synaptogenesis, with focus on adhesion molecules that regulate contact initiation, synapse maturation/stabilization or elimination, and synaptic plasticity. Emphasis will be on the potential mechanisms that regulate adhesion molecule recruitment and function at the synapse. I will also discuss how dysfunction in specific adhesive systems may contribute to synaptic imbalance and the development of brain disorders.


Dendritic Spine Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule Synapse Formation Excitatory Synapse Inhibitory Synapse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alaa El-Husseini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverBritish Columbia

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